The second-generation head of an automotive company, and one of Thailand's most successful businesswomen, has died from heart failure at the age of 67.
Khunying Phornthip Narongdej started working in her father's company, Siam Motors, as a secretarial assistant at the age of 17, rising through the ranks to become president and chief executive.
Siam Motors was the main Thai distributor of many Japanese heavy machinery and automobile brands, including Nissan and Datsun, when Phornthip took the reins.
She continued to grow the company and added to the range of products it distributed. Under her stewardship revenues grew to more than THB80 (€1.9 billion).
In 1992, Phorntip and her husband Kasem Narongdej founded KPN, an automotive components manufacturing group.
When international firms started to shift manufacturing away from Thailand to cheaper countries, KPN diversified into investments, property, education and music education.
This last business division sprang from Phornthip's personal love of music, and over her lifetime she founded three music academies – Siam Yamaha, Siam Kolkarn and the KPN Music Academy.
Although she was still nominally chief executive of Siam Motors and co-president of KPN at the time of her death, Phornthip stepped down from the day-to-day running of the companies in 1997.
Her three sons, Kris, Nop and Korn, now manage the family's two businesses, and her husband also survives her.